Farragut Life Winter/Holiday 2022

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From thePublisher

Recently, I saw an excerpt from a devotional by Bob Goff called, “Live in Grace, Walk in Love: A 365-Day Journey,” and one particular section stood out to me: “Jesus was criticized because of who He brought close, not those He sent away. He was scandalous because of who He let in, not those He cast out. Keep it simple. Instead of telling people what Jesus meant, love everyone the way He did.

“You might be misunderstood when you love like Jesus, but you’re in good company. Jesus was misunderstood. The people in power killed Him. What makes you think you won’t take a hit? He was ridiculed because He chose to live like every person, no matter who they were or what they had done, belonged in His family. I really want to do the same.”

It’s critically important for us Christians to love others the way Jesus did, to care about people even when they don’t deserve it, because Jesus loves us even though we don’t deserve it. One line from Bob Goff’s book made me pause, however: “Instead of telling people what Jesus meant, love everyone the way He did.” He loved sinners without ever condoning their sins—tax collectors and prostitutes as well as self-righteous pharisees.

As we celebrate Jesus’s Birthday and as family and friends come together, we want to pause to reflect on a place that God has used to transform countless lives—Miracle Lake. This issue, we tell the story of former addicts who have had their lives transformed by the mercy and love of God!

This issue also features an interview with Coach Tony Vitello, with advice on team leadership that you can apply to your own businesses, families, or teams. Also, sample some delicious holiday recipes courtesy of Ingles Table, and find all kinds of upcoming local events that you can enjoy with your family. Additionally, enjoy the inspirational story of Chris Stephens, pastor of Faith Promise Church.

Thank you to everyone who makes our magazines possible - especially our advertisors. I hope you enjoy a few of the Holiday Events we have listed - there are more online.


The Bingham Group

President Lisa Atkins Bingham

Graphic Designers

Cris Littleton DoctorSid Jason Bowers Lisa Bingham

Contributing Writers Matt Hollingsworth Gayle Fisher Betsy Maxwell West Cara Ford

Contributing Photographers


Jerry Denham Betsy Maxwell West Calvin Mattheis Caleb Jones

Advertising Sales Mignonne Alman Tel: 865.523.5999 mignonne@binghamgroup.com

Subscription or Editorial Inquiries Tel: 865.523.5999 www.monroelife.com

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Photo by Jerry Denham


One of the symbols that most people throughout the world equate with hospitality is the pineapple. The Carib Indians of the West Indies hung a pineapple (Ananas comosus) outside to tell any guest that they were welcome. Merchant trading ships in the 1700’s returned with cargo from the Caribbean islands with sugar, tobacco, rum, molasses and the pineapple. In America and England sea captains would spear a pineapple on his garden gate to signify to friends and neighbors that he had returned from his ocean voyage and was ready to entertain.

The pineapple is the world’s best-known bromeliad. There are also bromeliads house plants. These houseplants are inexpensive, easy to grow, require little care and reward the grower with brilliant, long lasting blooms and ornamental foliage. They come in a wide range of sizes from miniatures to giants.

All bromeliads are composed of a spiral arrangement of leaves called a “rosette”. The plant grows in a flattened configuration with its leaves lined up in a single plane. The flowers stalk is produced from the center of the rosette. The stalk may be long with the flowers held far away from the plant or short with the flowers nestled in the middle

of the rosette. Bromeliads only flower a single time. Once the plant stops produc ing leaves and produces its flower then it vegetatively produces new plantlets called ‘offsets or pups’. These plants will feed on the mother plant until they are large enough to set roots of their own. Pups are produced near the base of the plant inside the sheath of a leaf. The green leafy top of a pineapple is in fact a pup that may be removed and planted to start a new plant.

Several hundred species of bromeliads are being sold as houseplants but the most desirable are Aechmea, Cryptanthus, Guzmania, Neoregelia, Tillandsia and Vriesea. Be sure you look for one of these names on the plant label.

Your success with growing bromeliads indoors will be determined by the growing medium, water, and light. You will need to give your bromeliads a mist once a day and then dunk them in a pail of water about once a week. Since epiphytic bromeliads have poor root systems they take nutrients in through their leaves.

The South is also renowned for its hospitality. We talk slower and take our time visiting with friends and relatives. We will even look up from our phone if someone asks a question.

In our cities you will find gates, doors and cast cement pineapples adoring homes. You can show you’re in hospitality mode this Christmas by using a pineapple as a centerpiece on your holiday table, as a decoration on your front door or you can buy bromeliads plants to brighten up these cold winter days with a splash of color. Just be generous with the water and you’ll have a gift for yourself.

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How To Decorate a Christmas tree

Getting a dazzling holiday tree doesn’t have to be hard work. All it takes is an understanding of how the elements work together and a few easy-to-follow tips from tree decorating pros. I am obviously not a pro but there is lots of information on the internet and Better Homes and Gardens which gives tips on decorating your tree. Remember that it is more important for the

family to decorate together than to strive for perfect placement. I have friends who take pride in having a “Charlie Brown” tree each year.

It doesn’t matter if you have an artificial or a live tree. The first step is positioning the lights. Tree lights typically

come in green or white wire strands. Choose the strand color that matches your tree so the wire will be hidden. Illuminating your Christmas tree from the inside out will give it the most dynamic look so tuck those lights deep into the tree. Start at the base of the trunk and work your way up.


Wrapping lights around every major branch, moving from the trunk to the tip and back. It is okay to mix and match lights. For example, a background of white or clear lights can be highlighted with strands of colored lights that wrap the outer areas of the tree.

There are four different kinds of lights. Traditional incandescent (which come in a

variety of sizes and colors) are the most popular type of tree lights. Next are LED lights. These lights are newer and don’t produce heat. They’re typically more expensive, but are flameproof, fireproof and completely safe to decorate your Christmas tree. Another choice is Globe lights. They are round and come in many sizes. They look like balls of color on the tree, and while

they have a softer glow than mini lights, the light they produce covers a larger area on the tree. Finally, Bubble Lights, these retro lights stand straight up on the limbs of your Christmas tree. When the liquid tube on top of the light warms up, bubbles float up and down inside the tube, resembling lava lamps, so cool.

There are no firm rules for decorating a Christmas tree when it comes to draping garland. Plan to use about two strands of garland for every vertical foot of tree. Thin, beaded garlands looks best hung from branch to branch; thicker paper, ribbon, or foil garlands look best wrapped loosely around the entire tree. Decorating a Christmas tree with ribbon is a popular alternative to a garland. Loosely wrap wide, patterned ribbon around the entire tree in horizontal bands. I love using ribbon vertically on the tree, creating cascading streams of ribbon from the top of the tree to the base, tucking the ends under your tree topper. Fold the ribbon back toward the trunk of your tree to create a billowy effect.

The final step in decorating your tree is to hang your Christmas ornaments. To showcase your favorite ornaments, place them in prime positions on the tree first. Next, hang your larger ornaments, spacing them evenly around the tree. Ornament balls in one color but several sizes and textures will create continuity from top to bottom. Hang the larger ones on the bottom, the smaller at the top. Fill in around those ornaments with medium and small size ornaments. Be sure to hang some ornaments closer to the trunk to create depth and interest. They reflect the light to make your tree sparkle from the inside. Make the tree yours by adding specialty items, such as hand made ornaments, clip-on ornaments, or icicles.

Finish the look with a simple tree topper and a festive tree skirt. Enjoy this holiday season and your beautiful Christmas tree.

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Merry Christmas



Sweet Memories Serves: 4

Shopping List

2 Tbsp. unsalted butter

3 onions, sliced 7 cups chicken broth

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. fresh ground pepper 16 baguette slices

16 oz. Gruyere, grated



Shopping List

2 cups sweetened vanilla almond milk (or dairy-free milk of your choice)

2 Tbsp. organic cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)

Dash of cinnamon

1 can full-fat coconut milk

1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

* If using a dairy-free milk without vanilla, add 1/4 tsp. pure vanilla or peppermint extract.

* If using unsweetened dairy-free milk, you may want to add 1 Tbsp. raw honey or maple syrup.

Add cocoa powder and cinnamon then whisk to combine for about 2 minutes.

Simmer another 5 minutes or so, then serve immediately (with garnish if desired).

Garnish with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, grated chocolate, crumbled cookies, mint leaves, or anything you like!

To make the whipped cream, place a can of full-fat coconut milk in the refrigerator (upside down) and store overnight. This method will separate the liquids from the solids. Place a medium bowl in the freezer and chill overnight as well.


Warm milk until hot, but not boiling. Simmer about 5 minutes.

The next day, open the can from the bottom and scoop out all the solid parts into the chilled bowl. Add vanilla. Using an electric or hand-held mixer, whip the solids on medium-high until combined and smooth. Use immediately.


Melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute the onions over medium high heat for about eight minutes or until they are lightly browned.

Add broth, salt and pepper and boil gently for about 5-10 minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. Place the baguette slices on a baking sheet and toast in the oven.

Place one or two slices of baguette in the bottom of each of four ovenproof crocks.

Next add approximately 1/4 cup of grated cheese to each crock.

Ladle the onion and stock mixture into the crocks.

Repeat with another layer of baguette, cheese, and onion, then top with the remaining grated cheese.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until cheese is beautifully browned.

www.ingles-markets.com/recipes/ french-onion-soup-gratinee



Kelli Smith and Erin Barnett


Clean apples and dry with paper towel. Slice apples into 8 pieces. Add skewers to each for easy serving. Arrange apple slices on large serving platter. Place caramels in a microwavable safe bowl with water. Microwave in 25 second intervals until melted, then drizzle over apples. Top apples with chocolate chips and crushed candy bar pieces, serve immediately.

You can also set up a fun toppings bar with cookie crumbs, chopped nuts, or your favorite candies.


Serves: 4-6 Shopping List 4 large apples (your favorite varieties) 1 cup caramels, unwrapped 1 Tbsp. water 1 cup white chocolate chips 1/2 cup chocolate chips 1 English toffee candy bar, crushed Medium-sized skewers


Shopping List


2 cups sugar

3/4 cup baking cocoa

1 cup canola oil

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking powder

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


1 cans (14 oz.) sweetened condensed milk

1 package (14 oz.) caramels

1/2 cup milk


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, cocoa, oil, eggs and 1 1/4 cup milk. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder; gradually add to egg mixture until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon two thirds of the batter into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pan. Bake for 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in large saucepan, heat caramels, sweetened condensed milk and 1/2 cup milk over low heat until caramels are melted. Pour over baked brownie layer.

Drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer; carefully swirl with knife.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbles (do not over bake). Cool on wire rack.



Shopping List

1 bag (12 oz.) Nestle’s White Chocolate Morsels

1 cup Chex

1 handful Planters Roasted Peanuts

1 handful of m&m’s (holiday-inspired colors optional)


Prep: Line baking sheet with wax or parch ment paper. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together Chex, peanuts, and m&m’s.

In a medium bowl, melt white chocolate. Use the double boiler method as seen in our video on the webpage given below, or microwave the chocolate for 1 minute, stir, and heat again for an additional 1 minute.

Working swiftly with a rubber spatula, add chocolate to dry mixture. Fold ingredients to combine. Be gentle and patient—you don’t want to crush all the Chex or melt all the m&m’s.

Spread mixture out on baking sheet to dry, using your fingers to separate big clumps. Allow to dry for about an hour (put in fridge/ freezer to speed it up if you have to).

Break the crunch into bite-sized pieces and serve from your favorite bowl. If there is any left, store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

https://www.ingles-markets.com/reci pes/holiday-candy-crunch




Yields 8 dozen chocolates

Shopping List

12-oz. jar maraschino cherries, drained and diced

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted 2 cups powdered sugar 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract 14-oz. package sweetened, flaked coconut

3 cups pecans, finely chopped 5 bars of Lindt Dark Chocolate (70% Cocoa EXCELLENCE Bar)

2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening


Dice cherries and pat between paper towels to drain excess juice.

Melt butter on low in medium pot. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, and condensed

milk—stir until smooth. Stir in cherries, coconut, and pecans.

Form mixture into 2-inch balls. Chill in the freezer until firm, about 30 minutes.

Heat the chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan over low heat until chocolate begins to soften and lose its shape, then remove the pan from the heat and stir until melted and smooth.

Working with one candy ball at a time, dip each piece in warmed chocolate. Lift it out with a fork and let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. Place the coated ball on waxed paper or parchment paper to set.

Chill in refrigerator until the chocolate is set. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.


Introducing the new Farragut Life website!

Our new website is the best place to keep up with articles and stories between issues so you never miss a beat of what’s going on in our community. No matter if you’re using a phone, tablet, or desktop, our new website is fully optimized to make reading our content as easy as possible.

We also publish full versions of our print magazines online the same day they’re being delivered to homes!

See all the delicious recipes from current and past issues complete with step by step instructions and an integrated shopping list!

Need to Scale a Recipe?

No problem! Our online recipe system allows you to choose how many servings you want and it automatically adjusts the needed ingredients and shopping list!


Sarah Elizabeth
21 WINTER 2022/23 FARRAGUT LIFE Mon-Fri 10-5 Saturday 11-5 Come Visit Us for Your Holiday Gifts and Winter Apparel.
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Chris Stephens

Growing up, no one would have thought Chris Stephens would end up pastor of one of Tennessee’s largest churches.

In 1959, at age 14, his mother entered what would be the first of five marriages. Chris was born the next year to a wonderful mother but a physically abusive father. The pair divorced when Chris was three, and his mother eventually remarried, but his new step-father was even worse.

Chris recalled, “I tell [her], ‘you’re a great Mom. You’ve worked and sacrificed… But you batted 1.000—you married 5 losers.’” Her first husband was physically abusive, and the second was physically and sexually abusive to Chris and his brothers. When their mom found out, she immediately divorced him.

“It wasn’t her fault,” Chris said. “She just picked bad guys.”

He continued, “I got high for the first time when I was ten, and that just began a road downhill of destruction. I made no excuses for it. You can call it self-medication, you can call it whatever, I was just caught up in that world.”

By 18, Chris was shooting and dealing drugs. When he was 22, he overdosed after a threemonth binge and ended up in Memorial Hospital in Chattanooga. Ironically, it was here, in this hospital, that he’d been born, and it was here that he’d be born again.

In his book, The Climb of Your Life, Chris described the scene: “The doctors and nurses rushed in and out of the room and talked


in hushed tones. A thin curtain was drawn between two small beds, and sounds of coughing and moaning drifted in from just down the hallway. The whole place smelled of death and illness mixed with the pungent aroma of antiseptic… When my system was at last free of illegal pharmaceuticals, I was still in excruciating pain with stomach cramps that seemed to turn my whole body inside out… As I lay in that small sweatsoaked bed all day with no visitors, friends or family, I realized I was alone—truly alone. I was also angry, frustrated and without even the dimmest hope for the future.”

It was here, in his darkest moment, that God revealed himself to Chris. His book explains, “I remembered hearing about God when I was younger. My family had not been churchgoers, but I had a friend who went. When I spent the night with him, I had to go to church with his family. There I heard about God’s love, power and forgiveness. But was I beyond help? Could, would, just maybe… He might pull me out of the agony I was in? So I turned to the one Person I thought I could trust. My only hope was the only One who could reach down that low and pull me up. That day I entered into a partnership with God. I figured, what could it hurt? He couldn’t do any worse than I had. Little did I know I was in for the climb of my life!”

“There [in that hospital], I just said that’s it,” Chris recalled. “I’m going to follow the Lord… I said ‘I’ve wrecked my life. You can have it.’ He said, ‘I’ll take it.’ [God] forgave me, gave me a new heart… When he got me, he didn’t get much. But when God gets you, he doesn’t need much.”

The change in Chris’s life was instant. He knew that, as a new Christian, he wasn’t strong enough to be around his friends and family without being tempted by alcohol, drugs, and sex. He left them and told them not to call him, saying, “I can’t be Jesus’s friend and your friend at the same time.” This time away from his old friends and family was critical in breaking free from old patterns.

But far from being alone, he joined a church that adopted this new believer and became his family. Here, he “met friends that cared for me, just because, not for what I could give.”

“I learned what marriage was, I learned what life was, inside that church,” Chris said. “I dove into the church with all that I had.” His fellow believers opened their heart to him.

“They loved me, and people took me home. I had dinner in people’s homes.” For the first time, Chris felt good about himself and about his future.

“Six months later, I could go back and see my family and friends,” he explained, “cause there’s nothing they had that would tempt me at that point. But they didn’t really want me around because ‘the darkness hates the light because it’s deeds are evil.’”

During this time, God gave him a new purpose in life—helping others. Groups would ask him to speak and tell his story. People would come to him for help with friends and family caught in addiction. Eventually, God called him to preach, and that’s exactly what he did, returning to college then attending seminary.

Chris said, “That was 40 years ago… [and] I haven’t got over it yet… I’m a satisfied customer.”

Today, he is pastor of Faith Promise, a multi-site church in Knoxville and one of the largest churches in Tennessee. As of August, the church is in a transition from Chris as Senior Pastor to his son Zac as Senior Pastor. Zac previously launched the church’s Farragut campus. Pastor Chris is determined that Faith Promise won’t be a one generational church.

He said, “I just committed that… we are going to reach the next generation. To reach the next generation, you’ve got to be a part of the next generation, so we’re raising up men of God like Chase [pastor of the Farragut campus], young guys and young women that lead across the board. So next August we will pass the baton from myself to my son. I’ll still be here; I’ll still be on staff. But he’ll be the Senior Pastor… This year he’ll do a little more than half the preaching, and then [after the transition], he’ll do the bulk of it. I’ll preach when he asks me to after that.”

Chris Stephens is living proof that God can change lives.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.”

—The Apostle Paul, 1 Timothy 1:15

26 FARRAGUT LIFE WINTER 2022/23 We exist to WIN the world by equipping Christ Followers to win their world starting with 1% of the state of Tennessee!
campuses will have CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICES. For times please go to: www.faithpromise.org
Pastor Chris Stephens and Michele.
Pastor Zac Stephens, Rachel and family. FARRAGUT PASTOR
Pellissippi 10740 Faith Promise Lane Knoxville, TN 37931 Blount 539 N Foothills Plaza Dr Maryville, TN 37801 Anderson 1115 N Charles G Seivers Blvd Unit 4 Clinton, TN 37716 Bristol 2133 Volunteer Pkwy Bristol, TN 37620 North Knoxville 5830 Haynes-Sterchi Rd Knoxville, TN 37912
144 West End Ave Farragut, TN 37934
de Fe 5830 Haynes-Sterchi Rd Knoxville, TN 37912
Pastor Chase Depew, Lauren and family.

Eye safety seems unimportant until YOU have an injury. Our eyes are precious and there are so many risks that we can avoid just by being aware of eye safety.

Sun Protection:

The sun poses a threat to our eye health in multiple ways. UV light can damage our eyes over time, but if exposed to excessive amounts of UV, our eyes can actually get sunburned! This is a very painful experience that can happen usually around water or snow when the eyes are exposed to UV without protection. NEVER go snow skiing without goggles. Sunglasses are also protective when snow skiing, but goggles are much better and safer at protecting the eyes while snow skiing.

Winter time is not the time to put your sunglasses in the drawer along with your swim suit. The sun is out year-round and proper sun protection is necessary for good eye health. Polarized lenses are a must for glare-free viewing while driving.

Safety Glasses:

Safety glasses are required for some professions. If your work requires them, then you already know what you need for work. For all of the rest of us, safety glasses are necessary for many tasks around the house. Yard work, DIY projects, cleaning with chemicals, moving things around the house, and many other weekend projects can pose a threat to your eye health. Proper safety glasses will give you the best chance to avoid damage to your eyes. Some eye injuries

will heal without any permanent damage. Other eye injuries may result in long-term damage or even blindness. Eye safety should never be ignored.

Sports and Activities:

Many sports and activities require proper eyewear to ensure healthy eyes and to minimize the chance for injury. Such activities as cycling, running, skiing, skateboarding, tennis, golf, racquetball, pickleball, soccer, and volleyball among many others can pose a risk to your eyes. Always were proper eyewear to ensure good eye safety. Water sports such as boating, jetskiing, fishing, sailing, and kayaking all require impact resistant lenses and sun protection to ensure proper eye protection.

Eye Strain:

In order for you to see clearly, your eyes must be focused properly. Even if you think you are seeing clearly, you may have a mild refractive error that can lead to eyestrain. Your eyes should be examined every year for eye health and to determine any refractive error that is present. A proper prescription is needed in order to keep your eyes focused precisely at all distances. If you view a computer monitor routinely, you must also consider getting glasses that are focused for the computer. Proper focusing along with blue light protection is necessary to avoid eyestrain caused by routine computer use.

Eye Health:

Your eye health is very important for your ability to see clearly throughout your

life. If your eyes are not healthy, your vision will most likely be impaired. Proper nutrition, proper eye protection, and routine eye exams will ensure that you maintain good vision for years to come. There are many diseases and disorders of the eyes, many of which have little to no symptoms. Annual eye exams will allow your eye doctor to properly examine your eyes and detect any signs of disease. Early diagnosis leads to early treatment and better outcomes.

If you haven’t had your eyes examined within the past year, or if you have been having any eyestrain or discomfort with your eyes, take the next step towards ensuring good eye health and comfortable vision by scheduling your eye exam today. We would love to discuss with you all of the options you have available to optimize your vision and keep your eyes healthy for years to come. Call 865.966.0100 to schedule your next eye exam. Or visit our website: www.Premier-Eyecare.net

Dr. Fry is the owner of Premier Eyecare and has been fitting specialty contact lenses for over twenty years. He has been a speaker for Bausch & Lomb and Synergeyes and currently speaks for Cooper Vision.

11111 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37934 | www.Premier-Eyecare.net | 865-966-0100

Protect Your Eyes! You Were Only Given 2 of Them.

Local Artist At Knoxville Art Studio Highlights

The City’s Rich Culture With A Brand-New Scenes Collection

For the first time since its creation in 2020, G.O.A.T House of Creative is releasing a scenes collection inspired by its hometown, Knoxville, Tennessee. From Neyland Stadium to the Henley Street Bridge, this collection captures the images that make Knoxville such an iconic city.

With this new collection, G.O.A.T believes it once again highlights its attention to detail on all levels. It prints all art on high-quality canvas or matte paper stock to stand out in any space. Additionally, a made-to-order production process ensures each piece is completely custom, further strengthening the studio's reputation for customer-focused service.

G.O.A.T has also branched out into the world of commissions. Interested customers can follow the simple request process to have a photo of their favorite location turned into an exquisite painting, perfect for a gift or personal gallery.

allowed to switch the larger picture to a different one. I highly recommend!"

The Knoxville scenes collection has been a long time coming. For the past two years, G.O.A.T has earned itself a reputation for creating high-quality art prints that showcase iconic details of cities across the country. But while the studio has released collections inspired by destinations as far as Los Angeles, California, these Knoxville scenes mark the first time G.O.A.T has taken a more local approach. With this collection, G.O.A.T believes it perfectly captures the essence of a city whose historic roots have evolved into a hub for modernity and creative expression.

Containing 12 unique prints, G.O.A.T believes this brand-new collection highlights both the brilliance and the peacefulness of everyday life in Knoxville. Whether it's capturing a scenic shot of the Tennessee River or the bustling nightlife at Cruze Farms Ice Cream, each piece features the bold colors and textures that have led G.O.A.T to capture art fans across the country. To ensure these scenes enhance any space, the studio outfits each one with numerous options, including:

•Giclee prints, canvases and art cards

•A wide range of sizing options for canvas and art prints

•In-house framing with black or white frames

•Multi-print sets for a complete home gallery

"All beautiful prints of my hometown!" writes one happy customer. "These were very nicely framed with a finished backing, hardware already installed, and little felt pads for protecting the wall. Customer service was fantastic! I was even

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Celebrating 10 Years! 29 WINTER 2022/23 FARRAGUT LIFE

Tony Vitello

his summer, Coach Tony Vitello led the UT Vols baseball team in a record-smashing season that ended 57-9. For most of the season, the Vols were ranked number one in the country, and they had 10 players selected in the major league draft, a new program record.

But we aren’t here to talk about the team’s records, nor to speculate about next season. Instead, we’re here to talk about how Coach Vitello took the Vols from the worst team in the conference to the best in the nation. What leadership strategies are responsible for his success? And what lessons can we learn from him that we can apply to our own businesses, families, teams, and anything else that requires leadership?

I interviewed Coach Vitello to ask him these questions. I sat in a conference room overlooking Lindsey Nelson Stadium. Across from me, dressed in orange, sat the coach of possibly the greatest baseball team in the country.

You set a lot of records, but I want to focus on how you did it. Are there principles and strategies our readers could apply to other areas of life?

Coach Vitello answered this first question in four parts.


“One thing that sticks out to me as a personal fault… is… rushing around,” he said. “I put the ‘haste makes waste’ cliché into practice way too often as an individual, but when it

comes to trying to look out for the program, I think patience has really paid off.”

This started when he was first hired and had to decide “who else was going to fill all the roles that we needed to hire here. They basically cut everybody loose so we had seven different people to hire.” They took this on one-by-one, checking every avenue to be sure before committing.

“[Whatever] you’re doing, you always want to select the greatest option you have available, and I think we were able to do that in all the areas that are now filled. And we’ve stuck together as a staff.” He explained how important these people are to the team.

Photo: Calvin Mattheis , Writer: Matthew Hollingsworth




“Those are the guys who are with our players more than I am day-to-day, and I think we inherited a couple very talented people in our trainer and our academic coordinator, but then all those other hires were ones where I think patience really paid off… If we would have rushed, we never would have had a chance at hiring a couple individuals that became available later down the road… Being patient and doing as much research as possible gave us peace of mind.”


“Now that we’ve all been in place for five years, there’s some continuity, there’s a family environment here. There’s a lot of trust, not just amongst the staff but between the staff and the players because when you’re recruiting these individuals—the prospects when they’re in high school— you’ve got a lot of time to get to know them. And by the time they show up on campus, they realize that there’s good people that are going to be interacting with them every day. The families have peace of mind… We technically have to be the parents—at least pseudo-parents—when the kids are in this bubble that we call our campus.”

“My main answer… is I think people make this place. There’s other teams in this conference that could argue they have better

weather, or better facilities, or better tradition, better talent in their state. But the one thing

I think we boast here is we feel we’ve got the best people surrounding our kids, and again it was patience that helped hire a great staff. And… the number one reason I think there’s been success is the people that are in place every day building relationships with our guys as people, not just players.”


Coach Vitello also talked about the importance of setting standards. He discussed when the players first arrive and begin working out in the weight room. “The standards are set right away. It’s a rude awakening for those high school kids. That’s the beginning of them needing to raise their standards.”

He continued, “What you allow to happen is what’s going to happen. That would hold true at a business.” Don’t allow your employees to treat customers rudely or they’ll learn that they can get away with that. “Raising the standard and holding them to it has been a big part of what we’ve done here.”


“Now that we’ve had some success, you can’t sit back and say ‘Let’s high five each other. We had a few records set last year.’ If you do that in this league… you’re going to get literally knocked out, and you might be looking for a new job if it happens two years in a row.”

Five years ago, when you became coach, the baseball program was one of the worst in the conference. Five years later, you’ve set all these records. How did you accomplish this?

“There was a lot of hard work. People say there’s no substitute for it for a reason. There’s a lot of people on staff that sacrificed being able to go on vacation or go home a little earlier at night… in order to try to get

things in the direction we wanted to… I don’t think you can point to any one thing. I think a lot of hard work has gotten our guys looking good in the uniforms.”

Coach Vitello also emphasized the need to focus on the long haul—months and years—over short-term success. The staff had to ask themselves, “What’s… going to be sustainable over time and going to be able to withstand the difficult challenges in our league, more specifically the heavy competition. Because you are not going to be bulletproof in this league. I guess Coach Saban is trying to prove that theory wrong, but for the most part.”

You had a lot of talent this past year, and you were able to take this talent and develop team chemistry. It’s one thing to have talented players, but it’s another to mold them into a great team. How do you do that? What’s your secret to developing team chemistry?

“One ingredient… that’s unique to us is I was not a very good player. So, I can’t speak to the hitters the way Coach Elander can… As a staff, we complement one another, and where I fall short in a lot of areas, the one that I can speak to the greatest is being a good teammate because I sat on the bench for years with my dad, who was a coach, and watched how [the other players] responded to the coaches, responded to each other— just how they interacted daily.”

I had to smile at Vitello’s answer. This team had somehow developed the reputation that they were the “villains” of college baseball, yet their coach was humble enough to admit to an interviewer that he hadn’t been a very good player. His humility and his readiness to give credit to the rest of the staff and team stood out to me during the interview.


Vitello knew he wasn’t a talented enough to compete at a high level, so if he wanted to keep playing, he needed something to offer the team. And what he had to offer was what he’d learned from years of sitting on the sidelines, watching players interact— the attributes of a good teammate.

“I… got my PhD in being a good teammate,” Coach Vitello said. This has helped him greatly in his career as a coach, although he emphasized that “it takes two to tango” and it’s up to the players to take these lessons and “run with [them].”

So, what are the attributes of a good teammate?

“A big one is recognizing that it can’t be centered around what you would like to do every day. So, for instance, in the locker room, if you like listening to one artist every day… the odds of everyone else in the locker room wanting to hear that every day are not good. Now, those guys need to give you the space to, you know, today I got to listen to the Bluetooth or this is the song I want to listen to, but everyone will go crazy if it’s the same, the same, the same.”

“Also, realizing that your actions affect others. So, if you throw your helmet, it might give you the satisfaction of ‘I’m angry, and I want to get it out of my system,’ but it literally may bounce off the wall and hit somebody… I think realizing that your actions may give you satisfaction or they may not—but you need to take into account how is it going to contribute to the overall environment of the team it the dugout?”

Next, Coach Vitello said, “When you’re playing baseball, it is a team sport, but you have the baseball in your hand as a pitcher or you’re the only guy up representing the team as a hitter, so when you’re the pitcher

on the mound or the hitter in the plate, you are the representative of the entire team, so what you do… needs to be in the framework of the team. If you’re our rep at the plate and you’re pouting because the umpire didn’t give you the call you wanted, you’ve basically put our whole dugout in the position where our whole team is a bunch of pouters… That guy in the box or that guy on the mound is our leader and our representative and ultimately is sending a message to the fans, to our team, to the other team, to the whole league [that] this is who we are.”

How do you motivate players?

Coach Vitello laughed and said, “Sometimes I think I guilt them into it… I’m not as big of a yeller or screamer as maybe I would appear to be to other people or if you’re just looking at Twitter… For me, I like to use statistics [to motivate people].” He often shows players evidence and stats to support his strategies are instead of just saying “because I told you so.” He will “ask them to do something but then provide proof that there’s a good reason to do it.”

He also plays them podcast or movie clips to make memorable points. He explained, “If I just stand up in the front of the room and speak for 30 minutes… at the end of the day, for the rest of the season, they’re might remember three sentences or maybe even only one catchphrase… But if you add in a

movie clip or you follow it up with a podcast, it’s more likely to stick with these guys.”

He also gives them books like Mind Gym by Gary Mack and Birdies, Bogeys, and Bipolar Disorder by Michael Wellington (a friend of Vitello’s).

How do you discipline players?

For smaller infractions, Coach Vitello isn’t the one to handle discipline. Instead, players are sent to “Coach Q,” Quentin Eberhardt.

“He makes it hurt for a while and then that’s it,” Vitello explained. “One thing I’ve had to stress is that once it’s over, it’s over. We don’t hold grudges around here.” They don’t give players the silent treatment for days on end or anything harsh like that.

“When things more severe happen, it’s time for it to fall on my shoulders,” he said. “[I’ll] do what I think is best for the team… [and] for the kid… I think it’s up to me and the other coaches to try to protect them from making further mistakes or not compounding the mistake they’ve made.”

So, you’re not much of a disciplinarian?

“My goal is to have a back and forth between the players where we want to treat them like professionals and they want to be treated

Photo: Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics

like that, but they need to act like it for us to do it.” He emphasized that they have a good group of players, and they rarely have to discipline players for anything academic, a success which he credits to their academic coordinator.

Do you deal with just making them better baseball players or is there a bigger picture, like trying to impact them individually on and off the field?

“Yeah, and I always say to our guys and our recruits’ parents, it’s self-serving… I want [the players] to do well academically. Even the guys who play the Major Leagues still are going to have to work when they’re done, for the most part… But it’s self-serving too. If a kid learns how to sleep better, with better sleep habits, learns how to eat better, learns how to manage his studies better, learns how to handle the media and fans better… they’re going to play better… If you learn to be a better person, you’re going to be a better player, employee, husband… so there’s a lot of things we throw at our guys that are non-baseball…”

Do you set team goals and individual goals?

“We ask them to… write things down… to come forward with personal goals and process goals, how they’re going to achieve them. A lot of times our goals here, internally as a staff, are more short-term, and it might be smaller things. I don’t think we ever set out to say, ‘Let’s win our first ten games’ or anything like that. I think the big picture items so far have taken care of themselves when we cut out small pieces to focus on.”

What advice would you give to young (12-year-olds) aspiring baseball players and their parents?

“Stealing the quote we sent our players today: ‘Play the long game.’ What is the intent of a kid being involved in competitive sports at a young age? An easy and direct and true answer is to try to win, to try to get better, to try to become the best player they can be. But if you really take a step back and look at it, it’s bigger items. It’s so they exercise and they’re more healthy. So they’re challenged and they learn how to deal with adversity. So they learn how to interact with kids their age. Also, how they learn how to interact with adults who are trying to help them and coach them. How to be on time for practice, just like being on time for a job or for a class. How to learn work habits that will improve whatever their skill set is, and ultimately that falls under the umbrella of repetition as the father of all learning.”

“Now it’s an environment, it’s no one’s fault… but there’s this immediate pressure to see how good you can be so you have a highlight on Twitter, or you get a scholarship, or you get asked to play on the highly thought of, select team, and all those things are understandable, but I think… you do have to take a step back a bit and realize why you’re doing this in the first place. Otherwise, I think you can be chasing a ghost if it’s all about you [wanting] to have the home run record or some things like that….

If you ask some of Coach Delmonico’s, a legendary coach here, some of his players are now 40 and 50 years old, [If you ask his players,] ‘What did you get out of that?’ Well, the team comradery and the best man at my wedding, and I learned to be competitive, to be a winner, so now I started my own business. Those are just a few examples, but I think, as you get further away from the game… you have a little better perspective of there’s a bigger picture to the whole thing… These lessons… are incredibly valuable, and will outlast a trophy.”

Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers about team building?

“There’s no one thing we have. It’s daily. It’s kind of like being on a diet or an exer cise plan. There’s a phrase that a sports psychologist has that’s, ‘Do a little a lot, as opposed to a lot a little.’ So if you do ‘a little a lot’ that means daily you’re em phasizing that this is important or that’s important or this is the habit you want and you’re reemphasizing it and kind of reworking it every day, again as opposed to us having a PowerPoint presentation for four hours about how to be a great teammate and then that’s the only time we touch on that topic for the month.”



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God Provides

The thirty-foot L & M Dam is a part of Etowah’s history. Some might even say that the dam is the town’s history. Etowah was founded in the early 1900s as part of a new train route, and the steam engines of those thunderous trains were powered by water from the 11-acre lake created by the L & M Dam.

But by the 1960s, the age of steam-powered trains was long past, so the company sold the lake and the surrounding property which became divided among ten owners. But in 1980, a preacher named Jack Bryan would reunite this land, so important to Etowah’s history, and transform it into a center for men to turn their lives around, a place called Miracle Lake. For 40 years, Jack Bryan and Miracle Lake have served East Tennessee, and it is our honor to tell their story


Jack Bryan became a Christian shortly before turning 19. At the time, he was studying building construction at Southern Tech in Georgia, and one night he was dressing for bed when he heard God say to him, “Jack, go back home and preach.” That home was Etowah, Tennessee, 120 miles away.

Immediately, Jack got dressed, putting on a rain coat and an old hat. He said goodbye to his roommate and stepped outside into the rain, shivering in the October chill.

Jack stepped onto a curb, and right away, a car—that Jack had not called for—stopped and someone stepped out and said, “Jack, what are you doing out here?”

Without asking for permission, Jack slipped into the passenger seat and told the man what God had said.

“I’ll take you to the trolly,” the man responded. “You can get that to the bus station, and from there, you can go to Chattanooga.” Jack did exactly that, arriving in Chattanooga with a single quarter in his pocket, then began walk ing home. He hitchhiked to Athens where he caught a bus, paying his last quarter for a ride to Etowah.

It was morning by then, and Jack strolled into his parents’ home at 7 AM—without a cent left in his pockets—just as his mother was cooking breakfast. He had expected her to be surprised when she saw him, but she just acted normal and finished cooking.

Finally, Jack asked, “Mom, you didn’t seem to be bent out of shape about me coming home.”

She responded, “Son, I knew God was working on you.”

Jack did end up becoming a preacher, just as God had commanded him, pastoring multiple churches. At one point, he considered becoming a missionary, but God had a different plan for his life—ministering in jails and prisons.

Jack remembers the exact day this ministry began: The first Sunday of October, 1973. At first, he ministered at McMinn County jail. Later, some of the inmates he’d preached to ended up in prisons around the state, and they asked Jack to come visit them. Soon, he had a circuit where he was ministering to all the prisons in the state once per month.

The experience had a profound impact on him. “These men leave the prison, they come back home, [spend time] with the same people, same type of living, then they’re back in jail,” Jack said. So many of them were released just to break the law again and end up right back where they started. Jack wanted to break them out of this cycle, and God had given him a vision for how to do that.

Jack knew that the old L & M Dam Property would be a perfect location for the Christian recovery center he wanted to build. It would be a place to help those struggling with drug addiction, especially former inmates, to repent and turn to God.

However, to open this center, Jack would have to convince all ten property owners to sell. One day, Jack met with two of the property owners beside the dam’s spillway. Beside them, excess water flowed down the channel from the serene lake beyond. Jack had been explaining about the Christian training center he wanted to build and the vision the Lord had given him.

“Let’s have a prayer together,” Jack said.

“Now Jack,” one owner responded, “I never have prayed outside my home, just with my family. But I will.”

The three men prayed and one of the property owners said, “Lord, I pray that you’ll do miracles in the lives of the men that come here.”

M I R A C L E.

And just like that, the center had a name—

M I R A C L E L A K E.

Jack eventually convinced all the L & M property owners to sell, and some of them actually gave him the land for free. However, before he could finalize everything, he had to get financing, and this would turn out to be an even more difficult task.

“I was turned down by every financial institution in McMinn County,” Jack wrote. “I’ll never forget what one Bank Vice President said to me, ‘Jack, that’s just not a bankable proposition.’”

The longer it took Jack to get financing, the more restless the property owners became. All the while, interest rates were climbing. Two years passed since he first began the project, and it seemed to have reached a standstill.


“The longer we delayed, the more impossible the whole deal seemed to get,” said Jack. “Then it occurred to me what was happening. This is the kind of situation that God likes to operate in. He loves to take large handicaps. He was wanting to allow the situation to get to the point that there could be no question but that He alone could have brought us through.”

Indeed, in July of 1979, he received smaller loans from four men, and Jack was able to buy much of the property, but it would take an other fifteen months of financial roadblocks to scrounge together enough to pay the last few. By the end, he was over $40,000 in debt with a grand total of $600 in his bank account. It was then that the Maclellan Foundation in Chattanooga stepped in. Mr. Maclellan called the Bank that had already started foreclosure proceedings and said, “Hold up, we’re going to help those people.” The total grant from the McClellan Foundation was $75,200.

Hugh Maclellan, Sr. advised Jack to get a good Board of Directors and submit himself to them. He did just that. Their present Board of Directors consists of: Robert Bookout, President, Jeff Anderson, First Vice President, Mike Dunn, Second Vice President, Jack Bryan, Secretary and Gary Hyde, Treasur er, Randy Coleman, Clint Davis, Brandon Goodman, David Johnson, John Miles, Steve Moore, Joe Pesterfield, Randy Rayburn, Wade Shultz, Richard Smith, and Dennis Tweed. On December 7, 1980, Miracle Lake accepted the first student into the program. And more than 40 years later, it’s still working to save the lost.

There was so much that Jack needed to start his ministry, and so many people stepped up to provide.

He is grateful to all of them, but most of all, he is grateful to God.

And we in East Tennessee are grateful for Jack Bryan who, by God’s Grace, kept going even when others would have given up. The number of lives he has impacted is staggering. Since that first student in December of 1980, they’ve had 2,400 men come to Miracle Lake. They also continue to do prison ministry across the state, with ministers speaking at men’s and women’s prisons, and Jack said that right now, this program is “prospering more than it ever has.”

Over the years, Jack has served as executive directort of Miracle Lake, and Byron Goodman, a former student became general manager: Byron Goodman, a man whose life was turned around many years ago. Jack retired on his 90th birthday—November 17—and Byron was elected as the new Executive Director. Jack spoke highly of his former student, saying, “The guy boarders on a genius. He has the ability to work with people, work with men, work with a student.” Jack can retire confident that his legacy is in good hands.

Jack is planning to move to a house his father built in 1960, vacating the Miracle Lake site for other staff. He plans to stay on the board and continue doing some teaching.

We need places like Miracle Lake now more than ever. Over the course of his ministry, Jack has seen the number of prisons in Tennessee increase exponentially, and Miracle Lake’s waiting list is very long. They are planning an upcoming expansion that will give them room for 10 additional students. When asked how much money they needed to raise for the expansion, Jack said, “Whatever the need is, God will provide.”

2400 S T U D E N T S 2400 40 FARRAGUT LIFE WINTER 2022/23


At the beginning of 2017, Etowah-native Perry James owned a wealth management company in Knoxville responsible for nearly $100 million. He had a mansion, a yacht, an orchard, a wife and family—and he also had crushing burnout from his 70–80-hour work weeks and had relationship problems for which he alone was to blame. He had recently been awarded $3 million for losing his home in the Coal Ash spill nine years earlier. He had back surgery and began taking medication for pain, and this was where his life began to fracture.

“I wanted, I guess, to feel better about life…” he said. “I started dabbling a little bit here and there with different kinds of drugs like Xanax.” He had thought he’d be able to control it, but there was no controlling this. It happened faster than he could have imagined. Heroin, fentanyl, but most of all cocaine—$1,500 to $2,000 worth of cocaine every single day, taking hits every seven or eight minutes.

On the morning of his accident, Perry woke after doing drugs and partying all night and decided to drive to the bank to get money for more drugs. As he drove, he started

feeling something, a sense of déjà vu, and he began to lose consciousness. He had experienced enough seizures to recognize what was happening to him, and he realized with horror that with his all-consuming addiction, he had neglected his seizure medicine. A mother and father stood with their children on the side of the road, and Perry’s vision grew dark.

The next thing Perry remembers is the children’s furious father dragging him from his still-moving truck. He had struck the two kids with his vehicle. Perry broke free and ran after his truck which was still drifting without a driver. He stopped it then called the police on himself.

The children were all right, thank God; they returned to school the very next day. And Perry would face the consequences of his actions.

By the end of 2017, Perry James had lost his business, lost his money, and was facing two years in jail—but worst of all he had lost his wife and family through divorce.

“I have nobody to blame but myself,” he said. In the end, he would serve seven and a half months in jail, followed by two years of probation which he was able to make it through without drugs.

“I felt like my life was over,” he said. “Everything I had in life was gone—my wife, my relationships, my wealth, my business. Everything was gone. I lived in my car.” He had lost all hope in life, and with nothing to cling to, he began taking drugs again. He would often go without food in order to pay for his habit.

Eventually, in his desperation, he reached out to Jack Bryan, founder of Miracle Lake, who Perry had known his entire life. “I had reached the absolute bottom,” Perry explained. “It was either that or I was going to die.”

He went to Miracle Lake in June of 2022 where Jack taught him through Christ’s teachings how to live life. Perry stated that he’d been a Christian since a young age, but he’d never learned discipleship—following God—until he came to Miracle Lake.

“[Jack] discipled me,” Perry said. “Now, I still have nothing, but I will say with what I have now—except for the relationships with the family—but everything else, I wouldn’t trade it for what I have now. Never. Because I have peace, I have joy, I have a reason to live. I’m here for a mission. I’m on the mission field every day.” He’s been through AA and NA before, and he says that they don’t compare to what he’s found at Miracle Lake.

Miracle Lake has successfully rehabilitated thousands of men through a biblical approach to recovery. By establishing a relationship with Jesus Christ, men fill the void in their hearts that drugs and alcohol once filled. Check out the testimonial videos online to hear how families were restored through the work at Miracle Lake. www.miraclelake.org/testimonials

Miracle Lake Is Currently Raising Money To Expand, They Have Purchased An Additional 17 Acres and Will Build A New, Larger Chapel and Add Additional Living Facilities. To Be Part of This Life Changing Program

You Can Give Online: www.miraclelake.org

small chapel and a cluster of wooden cabins surround a still lake. It would almost look like a summer camp except the residents aren’t children but adults.

Miracle Lake is a Christian Training center in Etowah, TN, and since 1980, they’ve had over 2,400 students in their recovery program for drug and alcohol addiction.

Their general manager is a man named Byron Goodman, a former student who attended Miracle Lake years ago. Here he experienced God’s mercy and saw his power to change lives. We traveled to the facility to learn his story.

Byron is a friendly man with a Southern accent. He sat across from us at a wooden desk and told us about his life: “[I was] born and raised in Roane County, went to Oliver Springs High School, graduated in 95.”

After this, he began college, which was the start of a dark part of his life. Byron sometimes drank in high school, but in college he began experimenting more with drugs: pills, cocaine, and eventually what would become his drug of choice—oxycodone.

He explained, “I’d go to school, go out and have some beers, get intoxicated, then I found out I could take a hydrocodone—

I’d feel better and make it to class the next day, and [it would] take care of my headache.” Soon, he was using them every day.

When he was a junior, he transferred to UT. Soon, however, his father began noticing changes in his appearance and behavior. Instead of being fun and energetic, Byron had grown irritable and moody, often telling lies to try to hide his addiction; he wasn’t the same person.

They decided Byron should temporarily withdraw from college to get recovery treatment. He attended a center in Nashville for two weeks and got detoxed, but he did it all “without God,” never seeking a personal relationship with Christ. He’d been raised in church, but it was all just religious routine with no relationship. He also didn’t change his lifestyle, continuing to hang out with the same people as before, trying to stay sober in a bad environment.

In his senior year, he relapsed. Byron returned to the recovery center to detox, but not long after, he relapsed again and had to return to the program. By now, his dad had paid tens of thousands for the treatments, all out of pocket, so after this second relapse, he told Byron, “If you do this again, I’m done. I can’t financially afford all these rehabs.”

Despite this warning, he relapsed again. Then, he got evicted from his condo and was out on the streets. He called his dad who said, “Son, I told you I love you, but I can’t help you again.”

In the long run, this refusal would turn out to be a good thing. “He was an enabler,” Byron said. Without meaning to, his dad had been enabling his addiction.

How Miracle Lake Turned Byron Goodman’s Life Around A 42 FARRAGUT LIFE WINTER 2022/23

Byron’s car was soon repossessed, and he found himself walking down the side of the interstate to a homeless shelter. He tried to get a job, but it never worked out because of his addiction.

“I just lived underneath a bridge for about six months,” he recalled. “I ended up getting to stay at a few bad places from time to time… It was like a horror movie. I never thought it would happen to me.”

In 2006, Byron’s brother found out about Miracle Lake and called their dad, saying, “It’s a Christian-program, [and] Byron needs a miracle to get this straightened out.”

Byron came to Miracle Lake on September 7, 2006. He was frail, sick, and underweight from malnutrition. A week or two after his arrival, during one of his classes, Jack, the founder of Miracle Lake, was talking about salvation and how people need to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ to be saved.

Byron raised his hand, tears in his eyes, and said, “Jack, you’re talking about repentance, and repentance is a willingness to change. Well, I want to change. I’m sick and tired of this lifestyle. How do I get saved?” Jack invited him to the front of the class, and they knelt and prayed together.

“I invited Jesus into my life,” Byron told me. “I accepted him as my Lord and Savior. And my heart started changing. My attitude started changing. I just felt peace. I felt the burdens lifted. I was like, ‘Well, I may not have a place to live when I graduate this program, but I have a home when I die.’” Through the Bible, he began to understand who God is and realized that he’d been missing a relationship with him, and that was why he was dysfunctional, why his life wasn’t what it should be, Byron explained. “You have no strength without God,” he said.

Byron graduated a few months later but asked Jack if he could stay longer because he needed structure and routine. He ended up staying for six months as a student graduate. Then, on April 1, 2007, Jack asked if Byron could be the house manager. He said he’d love to help—anything he could do to serve and be useful.

“I lived here 18 months,” Byron said, “lost track of time, fell in love with God.”

During this time, Byron also repaired his relationship with his family. During high school, he had dated a girl named Brandi, and after high school, she’d become pregnant with their daughter, McKenzie. He had left them when he went to college.

Byron told us, “When I was here [at Miracle Lake] and finally got my life straightened out, I started seeing McKenzie again, and she wanted to have weekends with me. So, I couldn’t have weekends with my daughter while living at Miracle Lake, so I decided to work on trying to find [somewhere else to live].”

Byron’s grandparents had left him an inheritance with a trustee, and he had access as long as he was sober. He used this to buy a house in Madisonville and moved there in 2008, although he continued working at Miracle Lake.

“So, McKenzie started coming back into my life,” Byron said. “Well, her mother and I were broken up for 12 years. Never in a million years did I think we’d get back together.”

One time, when Brandi was picking up their daughter, she met Jack, director of Miracle Lake, who started talking to her and Byron about how their relationship had ended. Shortly after, Byron had a crazy idea—he asked Brandi out to dinner. Predictably, she

refused, saying he’d broken her heart and she’d never let him back in her life again.

A month passed, and one day Brandi called him and said, “I’m stupid probably for doing this, but let’s go have dinner.”

Sitting with us, years afterward, Byron smiled and said, “Jack did our wedding 12 years ago. Yesterday was our anniversary.”

Today, Byron is the owner of a transition facility called Graduate Hall where recovering addicts go after graduating from Miracle Lake, and he helps dozens of men who are in the same place where he once was. But the miracle was not yet complete.

On November 17, Jack retired after 42 years at Miracle Lake, and guess who he chose as his successor.

In 2006, when Byron’s brother recommended he go to the recovery center because he needed a miracle, I doubt anyone imagined that one day he would be running that same center.

“I’m just paying it back for what happened to me here,” Byron said.

182 County Rd. 498, Etowah, TN 37331 423.263.2583 • miraclelake.org



10 local beers on tap, a cool, chill vibe and a great patio... come kick back for a cold one after your next ride.

Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) Community Investment Fund surpasses $1 million in giving

Twenty-two East Tennessee nonprofits received a total of $121,600 from the Consolidated Nuclear Security (CNS) Community Investment Fund, a corporate donor advised fund of East Tennessee Foundation, at a ceremony October 17. Since 2015, the fund has awarded 180 grants to more than 120 non-profit organizations and educational institutions in 20 East Tennessee counties, totaling a combined $1.04 million. The Community Investment Fund is a partnership between CNS, the managing and operating contractor of Y-12 National Security Complex, and the East Tennessee Foundation. “Y-12 National Security Complex is invested in our community, and our partnership with the East Tennessee Foundation supports nonprofits that are accomplishing vital work,” said Gene Sievers, Y-12 site manager. “This year marks a significant milestone in our corporate giving, and we are pleased to announce new grants to 22 nonprofits.”

“This year, our grant committee chose to focus on organizations that provide support and development for early childhood education, at-risk youth, and young adults; support for immigrants to East Tennessee; and support for teachers.” said Y-12 Community Investment Advisory Committee Chair Jamie Uptgraft. “It’s an honor to provide grants to these organizations who work so diligently to improve the lives of East Tennesseans.”


CNS worked with the East Tennessee Foundation to create an innovative and effective method for contributing to the community in a way that would also better engage Y-12 employees. The Y-12 Community Investment Fund was established in 2015. “We are honored to be part of the East Tennessee community,” said Jason Bohne, CNS senior director of Communications. “As we pass $1 million in giving since the Community Investment Fund began, we are proud of the many ways the fund has made a difference in the lives of our neighbors thanks to the commitment and compassion of our non-profit partners.”

Y-12 employees who serve on the Community Investment Fund committee are chosen to serve two-year terms to represent their colleagues. Twenty employees participated in 2022. Members of the committee reviewed dozens of grant proposals, conducted non-profit staff interviews, and made site visits before recommending funding. “As an employee, I appreciate that CNS allows us to help determine how they invest in the community,” said Uptgraft. “Participating in this process has been incredibly rewarding.”

Jason Bohne, CNS senior director of Communications, speaks at the CNS Community Investment Fund grant ceremony held at Y-12 October 17.

Y-12 employees designated more than $120,000 for East Tennessee organizations in 2022.
CNS Community Investment Grant Recipients are pictured following the grant ceremony 520 W. SUMMIT HILL DRIVE, SUITE 1101, KNOXVILLE, TN 37902 easttennesseefoundation.org

• Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, to support school readiness for pre-kindergarten youth at Lonsdale Elementary School;

• Bridge Refugee Services’ Refugee Occupancy Opportunity Funding [ROOF], that supplements costs for housing;

• CASA of the Tennessee Heartland for the Fostering Futures Initiative, which provides volunteer mentors to empower foster youth between the ages of 14-18;

• Catholic Charities of East Tennessee, Inc., Office of Immigrant Services, to provide low- and pro-bono legal assistance to immigrants;

• Communities in Schools of the Appalachian Highlands, Building Resiliency through Integrated Student Supports, to place coordinators in schools to assist at-risk students in Cocke and Hamblen counties;

• Community Tutoring, to enlarge their territory to provide academic support to more students;

• Emerald Charter Schools, to provide trauma responsiveness training for teachers;

• Freedom Village of Hope, East Tennessee Freedom Schools, to fund a six-week summer enrichment program to increase reading com petency;

• Friends of Literacy’s Literacy to Go program, that aims to reduce literacy disparities;

• Girl Talk, Inc., Life Prep Academy, to prepare 10th- through 12th-grade girls for life after high school;

• Helen Ross McNabb Foundation, for schoolbased behavioral health services at Willow Brook Elementary School;

• HOLA Lakeway’s Immigrant/Refugee Transi tion Program, to provide support to immigrants and refugee families by assisting families through various transitions;

• Knoxville Area Urban League’s Healthy Minds Healthy Hearts, to provide minority high school students with the necessary support and strategies to prioritize their mental and emotional health;

• Koinonia Foundation Tennessee for Koinonia Classroom, a virtual learning program created for classroom use by special education teachers;

• Mental Health Association of East Tennessee, to support youth by determining their exposure to adverse childhood experiences, develop positive coping strategies, and to get the help they need;

• Metro Drug Coalition, to implement mental health first-aid training for teachers, administra tors, and school resource officers;

• Oak Ridge Schools’ Preschool/Head Start for Conscious Discipline Teacher Support, to provide continued systematic group training and individual coaching to staff serving approximately 200 children;

• Our Place Art Organization, Inc., Career Readiness Program, which provides transition al-age youth and young adults (ages 14-22) tools to develop independence on their journey to adulthood;

• SafeSpace School Violence Prevention Pro gram, to provide violence prevention education to students in the Sevier County School System;

• Shangri-La Therapeutic Academy of Riding (STAR) Changing STRIDES Life Skills program, which provides the tools for at-risk youth (ages 12-19) to better manage their lives and foster positive relationships;

• Shora Foundation’s Academic Center, to provide mental health and educational resources and access to food; and

• Street Hope TN, to provide free exploita tion-prevention programming for children and youth throughout Tennessee.


The grants will help recipients provide services to 20 East Tennessee counties, with 13 of the grants
multiple counties. This year’s recipients are as follows: ETF, CELEBRATING 30+ YEARS OF THOUGHTFUL GIVING FOR STRONGER COMMUNITIES AND BETTER LIVES 47 WINTER 2022/23 FARRAGUT LIFE BIRTHPLACE MUSEUM A L L N E W M U SE U M Hw y 36 0 P O Box 69 Vonore, Tennessee 37885 423-884-6246 seqmus@tds.net www.sequoyahmuseum.org Located in Vonore on the shores of beautiful Tellico Lake. Just 37 m i les sout h of dow ntow n K nox v i l le. Visit t he Sequoya h Bi r t hplace Museu m for you r C H R IS T M A S SHOPPI NG ! Ha ndmade Cherokee Baskets · CDs · Jewel r y Ha ndmade Nat ive A mer ica n Pot ter y · Pr ints by Cherokee A r t ist Dona ld Va nn a nd much more! OPE N Y E A R ROU N D! Mond ay - S at u rd ay 9A M - 5 PM Su nd ay 1 2PM - 5 PM (C lose d a n k sg iv i ng , C h r ist ma s D ay, & Ne w Ye a r s D ay)

The Backwards Missionaries:

Seven Years in Costa Rica

Adam and Kelly Vaughan never expected to be missionaries. Parents to four children—Emmiline who was 13 at the time, Eloise age 10, Elliott age 7, and Charli age 5—the Vaughan’s were a cautious family, slow to take risks and never without a plan, the kind of people who made detailed budgets for their paychecks, who expected to work at the same job for their whole lives.

Given their careful, practical attitudes, the Vaughan’s were the last people you’d expect to sell everything and move to a third-world country for seven years with little money and no plan. Yet this is exactly what they did.

Today, the family lives in Farragut, having recently returned from Costa Rica. When I asked for an interview, they kindly invited me to their house. Sitting opposite me in their living room, Adam and Kelly told me their story.

While Adam and Kelly had never expected to be long-term missionaries, Adam had led several week-long mission trips to Mexico, Honduras, and Spain.

He recalled, “I was in Honduras serving, and I felt like the Lord lovingly, tenderly invited me to sell it all and move to central America.” He wasn’t sure if this was really from God, though, so he talked to his wife and their

older daughters about the thought. Kelly was stunned.

“I’ve been married to this man for a long time,” she said. “He takes zero risks. Ever. We hadn’t talked about going… to Costa Rica. We’d never even talked about the subject of even visiting ever in our lifetime.” They were a young family trying to live off of a ministry salary with little to spare.

Kelly knew this thought couldn’t have come from Adam. It was something so outside of his makeup that he wouldn’t have even dreamed it. It had to be from the Lord.

Their kids were excited about the idea, and in June of 2015, after much consideration,

the family finally decided to do it. And for a cautious, risk-averse group, this was a crazy risk.

different going for ten days [versus] making a life there for seven years.”


“We call ourselves the backwards missionaries because we did everything backwards,” Adam said, “We didn’t go with a missions agency because we wanted to be able to serve cross-denominationally… We didn’t know the language… We’d never been there. We didn’t know the people. We didn’t know what we were supposed to do. We didn’t have the money raised.”

Adam went on an exploratory trip to Costa Rica with a friend, and they toured some houses where the family could live. Everyone had told them not to buy a house until they had lived in Costa Rica for a year and knew the area, but the Vaughan’s didn’t have that option. They sold or gave away most of their possessions and moved to a third-world country, throwing all their money into a house Adam had walked through for about two minutes.

Kelly said, “We’d both served in missions plenty of times with the marginalized, but it’s

The six-person family now lived in a twobedroom house with a tin roof that made the place sound like the inside of a drum under the pounding of rain that fell almost nonstop for six months of the year. Like the rest of the town, the Vaughan’s house lacked central cooling—in a country a thousand miles south of Texas. The power and water went out constantly, and the family dealt with all sorts of illnesses to which they had no natural immunity. It made them appreciate all they normally took for granted.

Kelly said, “I think sometimes it also reveals you’re not as strong as you think you are when you’re removed from everything familiar and you’re set out in the middle of the tropics with all the elements and a whole other culture. You’re basically a foreigner.” The experience gave them greater empathy for foreigners in all countries.

How did the kids feel about their new home? Not how you might expect.

“The kids were amazing,” Adam said. There were four of them sharing one small bedroom and attending a one-room schoolhouse where animals would walk through the rural and rustic playground—yet the kids never complained.

“I think that’s why we were able to sustain it as long as we were,” Kelly said. “I honestly can’t remember a time that my kids companied which is pretty miraculous… In some ways, it was the most beautiful experience because where we feel entitled here [in America], they didn’t even know to feel entitled. It was a very simple life for them.”

And the children were just as involved in mission work as their parents, helping to lead worship, praying and encouraging people on home visits. They were missionaries just as much as Adam and Kelly.

“The labor wage is so low [in Costa Rica],” Adam said. “I have friends who will work all day [at] manual labor—and they’re skilled laborers—and they make under [the equivalent of] $3 an hour.” Because of this, theft was more common. “People are just trying to survive,” Adam explained.

They attended a language school at the beginning. It was difficult for both of them but especially for Kelly. She said that she worked harder at learning the language than anything else she’d worked on in her life. Nevertheless, as new speakers, they both had many embarrassing moments during their first few years.

Kelly explained, “Learning a language is more than just learning a language—it’s learning how people think, how people feel, how people express themselves. It’s getting to know someone… It’s more than just words.” It was because she valued her new


community so much that Kelly worked tirelessly to be able to communicate deeply with them. It was a beautifully humbling experience.

Over the years the family made a lot of dear friends, from the young boy, their neighbor, who would come over to play with their kids nearly every day despite them barely being able to communicate with each other at first, to Pastor Pedro, a 70-year-old man who lived in a dirt-floored home deep in the mountains who owned little yet brimmed over with joy.

People picture missionaries spearheading massive thousand-person revivals, but the reality is smaller scale and less glamorous. The family served almost daily in schools, provided counseling for people struggling with depression or marriage issues, did emergency relief and construction work, offered encouragement and friendship to local pastors, and delivered groceries during the Covid pandemic, among many other things.

Adam said, “There were times where we were mostly helping single moms and widows, whether that was hauling away their

trash, or digging a ditch to divert the rain, or Kelly brushing out a lady’s hair because she has a broken arm and was embarrassed of her hair… Most of what we did was in the context of relationships.”

He continued, “I like to make a plan, but we didn’t always know what the day would entail because it was very common for someone to show up at our gate and they would have either walked six miles asking for a bag of beans and rice, or they needed me to drive them to the hospital which was an hour away, or they needed to talk with Kelly about the sadness and struggles in their heart.”

While they made plans, they had to be open to those plans being disrupted so that they could stop to show love to the particular person who was in need that day.

Kelly said, “Here’s the reality: people look at missionaries and… expect a certain outcome. They expect it to look a certain way, and… it didn’t look anything like what we thought it would look like.”

She explained that some people might look at their trip as a failure because there was

no giant revival with millions of people coming to know Christ. But sometimes God is just calling you to do the little things, to be a friend to one person, to offer hope to one life, to be committed to the one man everyone else has abandoned—to be a funnel through which God can pour his love into other people’s lives.

“It would be nice to tell you we were able to start a 20,000-person school. But we weren’t,” Kelly said. “What we were able to do was offer hope to a lot of schools and a lot of kids who didn’t have parents, didn’t have


food, didn’t have money… I think that was the main mission God had for us—simply being available every day.” Mission work like this is something each of us can do right here in our local area.

“If we are believers, we should all be missional,” Kelly said. “You don’t have to go to Costa Rica to be a missionary… I’m supposed to be a missionary to my neighbor, to my child, to my husband.”

Adam and Kelly emphasized how wonderfully humbling their experience was. They had to be willing to struggle with the language, to embarrass themselves, to enter a culture that didn’t care about the achievements or education that Americans so value.

Kelly said, “I think our whole message was that—I am willing to be small so that you know that you are loved.”

She also said, “We never went into it thinking it was going to be glamorous, but we definitely went into it thinking this is what it’s probably going to look like, this is what we have to offer, this is what we can bring to the table, and God just responded, ‘Nah, I don’t want any of that. Thanks anyways.’ This left us with nothing to offer, but God said, ‘That’s perfect, because then I can just be me through you. When you feel emptied, then I can fill you with exactly what I want to release into the Costa Rican culture.’”

Their words reminded me of what John the Baptist said when his disciples told him that Jesus was baptizing more people than they were. John responded—not with sorrow, but with joy—“He must become greater; I must become less.”

What could be more beautiful than that?


For over 17 years, Oasis of Love Ministries in South Clinton sheltered victims of domestic abuse, giving them a place to stay, helping them get back on their feet, and sharing the Good News of Jesus with them.

Janice Hollingsworth Wilson founded Oasis of Love in 1998 when she was in her 60s.

“That’s what the Lord laid on my heart to do,” Janice Wilson said, “and I just needed to do it.”

She didn’t have much money, but many generous churches and individuals donated which helped her pay for a building with room to house six women and their kids who were escaping domestic abuse. At first, Janice rented this building, but soon her daughter and son-in-law bought it for her outright. There was also a charity that donated furniture to her residents—as much furniture as they needed. Janice also talked about the six board members for Oasis of Love who helped her greatly.

Oasis of Love

Wilson said about her residents, “I drove them to doctor’s offices… and took them back and forth to jobs if they needed.”

Women tended to stay at Oasis of Love for around four months while Wilson helped them find a job. When they were ready, they would move out into an apartment, and Wilson would help them pay the first month’s rent.

“Probably the most rewarding part was to see them change their life,” Wilson said. “I wanted them to have a different life, not go back to the same thing they had.”

One such person whose life was changed was Regina Haynes who stayed at the shelter in 2011. While there, Haynes worked two jobs all while recovering from a prescription medication addiction. One thing that impressed her the most was how Janice was able to connect different ministries to work together.

Haynes said, “Because of Janice’s ministry at the Oasis of Love, many other ministries came together for a greater good to glorify God…” Haynes referred to this as “Kingdom Connections.” Regina would go on to earn her master’s degree, and years after moving out, she even returned to work for Oasis of Love as the resident manager.

Another former resident also shared her story. Around 2007, Dana Smith left an abusive relationship in Florida, travelling to Tennessee with her twin sons.

“We didn’t have money or a place to go,” Smith remembered. “All we had was my car.”

Her mother knew about Oasis of Love and suggested that she go there. Smith did, and she said the shelter was the best thing that ever happened to her.

One memory that stands out to Smith is when her sons were nearing their birthday in the shelter. She didn’t want them to have bad memories of their birthdays when they grew up, but she didn’t have enough money to celebrate. Fortunately, Janice ended up throwing them a little party with a cake and presents. They still talk about that birthday, Smith said.

Both Haynes and Smith fondly remember the church services held in the shelter every Sunday. There would be a different pastor each week who spoke not only to her six residents and their children but also to 10-20 others from outside the shelter who enjoyed the services enough to attend

The shelter closed in 2015, but Janice is still actively serving God. Since it’s so hard for people to go to church with COVID, she’s now hosting a church in her home.

Janice Wilson made some close friends at the shelter who still visit and call her years later, including Regina Haynes and Dana Smith. She often runs into former residents who continue to thank her for all she did for them. She is a woman who has touched many, many lives.

Perhaps Haynes said it best, emphasizing the effect Janice’s ministry has had on others: “Her ministry has caused a ripple effect that has become a tsunami wave,” Haynes said. “Long after Janice has gone home, her legacy will live on through the many lives she has touched.”

If you or someone you love is facing domestic violence, call the Knoxville Family Justice Center at (865) 521-6336. If you are not in East Tennessee, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, open 24/7, or you can ask your doctor for the phone number of a local hotline in your area.

Janice Wilson (left), Regina Haynes (right), and Regina’s mother, Diane Haynes (middle), celebrating Regina earning her master’s degree.


DECEMBER 3RD: Breakfast with Santa 9am-11am

Davis Y Vendor Market 7am-1pm *Register Online*


Date: December 2nd Time: 9:30am

Meet: River Bluff Wildlife Area and High Ground Park

Address: 1000 Cherokee Trail, Knoxville, TN 37920 Please direct questions to Ellen Morar at emorar@ymcaknoxville.org

FARRAGUT Awarded Grant From the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation

Farragut was just given a $1.7 million grant to improve our stormwater infrastructure by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation.


More specifically, Farragut is set to receive as part of this grant, because apparently the government doesn’t like round numbers. (I’m sure those 86 cents will prove crucial.)

According to a press release, “The grant will be used to fund a variety of stormwater im provement projects. These projects directly support improvements to stormwater quali ty and drinking water conservation through best management practices and address multiple critical needs, including developing a Stormwater Infrastructure Plan.” This is part of Tennessee’s American Rescue Plan. Grants were awarded to several other cities across the state as well.

Thank you to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conversation for investing in our community!

DAVIS FAMILY Y | 12133 S. Northshore Dr. | Knoxville, TN 37922

In June, Esquire Magazine included a Knoxville bar on their list of the best bars in the country. The Italian Aperitivo bar, named Brother Wolf, opened in July of 2021, serving lower-proof cocktails and light snacks. It is owned by Aaron Thompson and partner Jessica “Rab bit” King who hope the bar will enable “long conversations fueled by long drinks.” All their wine and beer is imported from Italy. Esquire described the scene within the bar: “Bitters flow in bright-red ribbons, glow in backlight, and spill into the starlit night.”

When asked about being listed in Esquire, Aaron said he was “so proud of our team… Jessica and I were both so excited to be a ble to share the news with our team that has really helped us achieve so much in so little time.”

He’s very happy with how the bar has turned out, saying, “We’ve only been open for a year, and we really took a chance on doing a unique concept, although we believed very much that it was going to succeed. To see everybody really embrace Italian Aperitivo culture… is really fantastic. The vibes are really good, and it’s a very happy place.”

If you visit the bar, the top drink Aaron rec ommends is a Negroni or a Negroni Bianco if a Negroni is too intense for you.

Additionally, from November 25 through Christmas, Brother Wolf will be transforming into Miracle in the Old City, a Christmas -themed pop-up bar.

Aaron and Jessica met at a bar/restaurant called Sapphire, where they fell in love and eventually started working together. Aaron began as a bartender, working his way up the ranks of the company and ultimately purchased Sapphire in 2008 and was its sole proprietor. After leaving Peter Kern Library, the speakeasy she created near Market Square in downtown, Jessica partnered with Thompson in Sapphire until its lease expired in 2021. Sapphire is currently closed, but they may reopen it at a new loca tion. Aaron and Jessica are planning to open a French restaurant at Sapphire’s old location on 428 South Gay Street. The new restaurant is called Lilou, and they plan for it to be focused on “classic French preparations in an upscale setting,” Aaron said.

Brother Wolf’s unusual name comes from the Ancient Roman legend of Romulus and Remus, two brothers who were raised by a wolf and became the founders of Rome. The name “brother” also has a double meaning, as the bar is “brother” to Aaron and Jessica’s Italian restaurant next door. It’s called Osteria Stella, another meaningful moniker as it is named after the couple’s 2-year-old daughter, Stella.

108 W. Jackson Ave. Knoxville, TN 37902 865.247.4729



Sunday-Thursday 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Friday-Saturday 4 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Kitchen Closed on Monday



November 21st 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Founders Park at Campbell Station, 405 N. Campbell Station Road, Farragut, TN

The Town of Farragut and the Farragut Business Alliance unveil holiday cheer with more than 68,000 lights. This FREE event also features live entertainment and refreshments.

For more information, visit: VisitFarragut.org/events


Hot to Trot 5K/10K and Fun Run

Tennessee, celebrates talented middle and high school students, and supports arts education. This annual exhibition provides the opportunity for students to participate in a juried exhibition and to have their artworks displayed in a professional art museum environment.

For more information on the exhibit, check out: KnoxArt.org/exhibitions/etrsae-2022

Thanksgiving Day Thursday, November 24th 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. 11619 Parkside Drive, Farragut, TN

This Farragut Thanksgiving tradition is brought to you by Fleet Feet Knoxville and is the perfect start to your family’s Turkey Day.

For more information, visit: VisitFarragut. org/events


February 26th, 2023

6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

November 21st through January 1st

7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Kingston Pike & N Campbell Station Road, Farragut, TN

From dusk to 10 p.m. nightly, the holiday lights will be on along Campbell Station Road from the I-40 commuter lot to the Campbell Station Inn Plaza at the intersection of Campbell Station Road and Kingston Pike.

For more information, visit: VisitFarragut.org/events


Farragut Community Center, 239 Jamestowne Blvd Knoxville, TN 37934

November 25, 2022 through January 8, 2023

1050 Worlds Fair Park Dr Knoxville, TN 37916

The ETRSAE showcases the strength and diversity of art education programs in East

Celebrate Tennessee Songwriters Week the last week in February at the Farragut Songwriters Showcase. Enjoy performances by local singer songwriters. Food and beverage will be available for purchase from our local restaurants. Tickets will go on sale in January 2023. Mark your calendars now to attend this evening of great music.

For more information, visit: VisitFarragut.org/events


Friday, November 25th, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. & Saturday, November 26th, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Salt & Light Studios, 152 Old Athens Pike, Sweetwater, TN 37874

ArtFest 2022 is an art show and sale for East Tennessee high school, college, and university art students to display and sell their creations. This event is open to the public. A Scholarship for the Best Students Art will be presented by Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and the Best Student’s Art Display by 3 Generations Art Studio and Gallery for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place.

Enjoy 3 days of shopping with local artisans on Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and again on Sunday.


November 26th 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

did during the French and Indian War. Throughout the day, demonstrations will be taking place, such as cooking, laundering, blacksmithing, and artillery drills. There is also a Christmas church service with Parson John and wassail tasting. Be sure to step into the infirmary, compare a soldier’s barrack to the commander’s quarters, and stop by the Cherokee encampment. The evening portion begins at the Visitor’s Center at 6 p.m. and includes a candlelight tour of the fort and a rare night firing of the canon.


Madisonville Christmas Lighting of the Square

November 25th 6 p.m.

Downtown Madisonville

Come gather in downtown Madisonville on November 25th as the community lights up the town and kicks off the holiday season!


November 25th through 27th 1110 Fairview Rd Tellico Plains, TN 37385


December 2nd 7 p.m.

Downtown Sweetwater

December 3rd 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Monroe County Courthouse



December 3rd 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Fort Loudoun State Historic Area Bring in the holiday season and celebrate Christmas as soldiers

It’s the 2nd year of this magical event in downtown Madisonville, and we’ve made it bigger and better! Join us on December 3rd to enjoy the favorite features of last year’s festival and the new additions, including the Madisonville Kiwanis Christmas Parade Finale —the first NIGHT parade since 2013!


December 3rd 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Downtown Tellico Plains

Come join us in Tellico Plains, TN for the Christmas event of the year! Our downtown merchants will be opening up their shops for their annual open house. The luminaries throughout downtown will guide you through the perfect old fashioned Christmas experience. Santa and the Grinch will also both be here! This is a family event you do not want to miss!

To learn more or to register, go to: VisitMonroeTN.com



December 9th through December 10th


November 10, 2022 through February 28, 2023

For more than 30 years, Gatlinburg has celebrated Winterfest with millions of twinkling lights on festive holiday displays throughout the city. Soak up the spirit of the season from the comfort of your own vehicle and take a memorable journey on the exciting Gatlinburg Winter Magic Lights Tour.

The Museum of Appalachia Experience the serenity of an Appalachian Christmas at the Museum of Appalachia! The centerpiece of this holiday event is an evening tour of the Museum’s pioneer village. The cabins will be adorned with old-fashioned Christmas decorations and festively lit for the occasion. Activities will include storytelling, live nativity, music, and wagon rides. Demonstrations will include blacksmithing, sorghum making, and more.


January 1, 2023

Tellico Lake at the Poplar Springs Boat Ramp in Loudon, TN

Join other courageous folks and jump into the chilly waters at 12:00 noon on New Year’s Day, January 1, 2023. Proceeds from the event will go to the Watershed Association of the Tellico Reservoir to help in their efforts to perform waterway cleanups and litter education. Not only will it be for a good cause, but it’s a great way for the entire family to start off 2023!

For more information or to download a self-guided tour map, go to: Gatlinburg. com/events



November 26th through November 27th

The Franklin Theatre, 419 Main Street Franklin, TN 37064

Hailing from Minneapolis, MN, Rhythmic Circus is an internationally renowned, 12-member live music and tap dance ensemble. Experiencing one of their adrenaline-soaked dance performances feels like witnessing the rebirth of an art form,


one that forged all kinds of stylistic hybrids, but is something else entirely.

Their name, Rhythmic Circus, might seem strange for a quartet of hoofers and a live band, but actually, their magnetic, high-energy shows are all about juggling a combination of dancing, humor and music— all wrapped within a bundle of positive messages. It seems to be a rare occurrence where family can enjoy an evening together, with children of all ages laughing and stomping their feet alongside each other. Rhythmic Circus provides that atmosphere and entertainment.

Notable national performances include the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., an extended off-Broadway run at New York City’s premier nonprofit performing arts theater—New Victory Theater, and an appearance on the reality television series America’s Got Talent.

For more information, go to: FranklinTheatre.com

The Franklin Theatre, 419 Main Street Franklin, TN 37064

Larry, Steve & Rudy: The Gatlin Brothers are Grammy® award-winners who have dazzled audiences for more than six decades. They have accrued a lifetime of noteworthy achievements in their storybook career, including a Grammy® for Best Country Song (“Broken Lady”), three ACM awards for Single of the Year (“All The Gold In California”), Album of the Year (Straight Ahead) and Male Vocalist of the Year, along with five nominations for CMA Vocal Group of the Year, Single, Album. The brothers have accumulated seven #1 singles, 32 Top 40 records; more than 20 studio albums and five BMI “Million-Air” Awards.



November 25th 5:15 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Krutch Park Extension, Market Square, Market Street

Join us for the lighting of our 42-foot-tall Mickey Mallonee Christmas in the City Tree in Krutch Park Extension. Enjoy live music with The Deltas at 5:15 p.m. with the lighting of the tree ceremony starting at 6 p.m., free activities, photos with Santa and more! Live music on Market Square Stage starting at 6:30 pm with Evelyn Jack—enjoy jazz, mixed with a little blues, and holiday favorites.

December 23rd 8 p.m.

Knoxville Convention Center

East Tennessee Children’s Hospital presents the Fantasy of Trees is returning in 2022, better than ever. The annual event is the hospital’s largest fundraiser, attracting nearly 60,000 people during the week of Thanksgiving. Travel through a forest of more than 350 beautifully designed trees, holiday accessories, store front windows, door designs, table centerpieces and an Adopt-a-Tree forest decorated by local school children. All priced to sell.

Market Street will have local businesses doing crafts with children, stop by Home Depot’s Little Elves Workshop, make a card to be sent to our local veterans with Holidays for Heroes. And don’t forget to stop by and see the miniature train set!



November 25, 2022 through January 8, 2023

Downtown Knoxville

Follow the trail of peppermints on the sidewalks of Downtown Knoxville to discover all sorts of treats featuring the favorite red-and-white candy. From candy cane coffees at morning brunch to craft cocktails sipped by candlelight, you’ll find peppermint treats round almost every corner – along with plenty of gingerbread, cinnamon, cranberry, apple spice, and other holiday flavors. Plus, boutiques and gift shops feature peppermint-themed t-shirts, scented soaps, candles, and all kinds of holiday surprises.

Join storied Nashville singer-songwriter and author Andrew Peterson as he presents the Advent song cycle Behold the Lamb of God: The True Tall Tale of the Coming of Christ. Now in its 23rd year, Behold the Lamb will feature guest artists Jess Ray, The Arcadian Wild, Andy Gullahorn, and Jill Phillips, along with an all-star cast of Nashville songwriters and session musicians. The concert brings the singing and playing of Peterson’s original folk-roots infused rendition of the Christmas story as it is foreshadowed in the Old Testament and brought to bear in the New. The tour is sponsored by International Justice Mission and Kyser Capos.


December 31st

Starts at 8 p.m., ball drop at midnight

World’s Fair Park, Festival Lawn

Bring in 2023 with your friends and family at World’s Fair Park with food trucks, free activities including a silent disco at 8 p.m., DJ Music at 9 p.m. and live music by K-Town at 10 p.m. Ball drop from the Sunsphere at Midnight.


January 21st, 2023


December 2nd 7 p.m.

Along Gay Street

Join us for everyone’s favorite parade, the WIVK Christmas Parade! Bands, dancers, lighted floats, characters and Santa Claus parade down Gay Street and brings fun holiday spirit to all! The parade will start on Church Avenue near the Coliseum, then turn right onto Gay Street ending at Magnolia.

Thompson-Boling Arena, 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way, Suite 202, Knoxville, TN 37996

Christian music's largest annual tour!


February 24, 2023

7 p.m.

Thompson-Boling Arena, 1600 Phillip Fulmer Way, Suite 202, Knoxville, TN 37996


December 14th 7 p.m.

Tennessee Theatre, 604 S Gay St Knoxville, TN 37902


November 25th through 26th

The Arts Center, 320 N. White St

Our annual indoor exhibition and sale of fine arts and crafts


is held the weekend of Thanksgiving each year. A nice variety of art and crafts is available for sale during this show with items for all tastes and budgets.


December 11th 2 p.m. ACMS

Ring in the holiday season with the symphony in this crowd favorite family pleaser!




November 18th, 2022 through January 1, 2023, nightly

1400 Patten Road

Lookout Mountain, TN 37409


December 2nd through December 10th

The Arts Center, 320 N. White St

A Classic Christmas Play.


December 5th 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Athens Chamber of Commerce, 13 North Jackson Street, Athens, TN

December 15, 2022 through February 6, 2023 320 N. White St., Athens, TN

For more info, go to AthensArtsCouncil.org


November 4, 2022 through January 1, 2023

Smokies Baseball Stadium

See the gorgeous light show synched to Christmas music. To learn more and to see other locations, go to: ShadrackChristmas.com

Warm your heart during this nighttime, family tradition as you walk through Rock City Gardens’ winter wonderland. Located a quick drive from downtown Chattanooga, this magical Christmas lights experience is one of Chattanooga’s memorable winter events.

Take a stroll down the lighted Grand Corridor in Yule Town, experience the twinkle of icy lights in the Arctic Kingdom, and the Magic Forest comes alive to reveal exciting enchantments!

All guests must reserve an entry time in advance online. Tickets cannot be booked upon arrival at the ticket desk. Annual Passholders do NOT need reservations.

To learn more, go to: SeeRockCity.com

In Historic Downtown Sweetwater next to Hunterʻs Cafe.
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